Between a lack of stable success and a suspension of Irad Ortiz Jr., it hasn’t been the best of weeks for Ortiz and coach Wesley Ward at Royal Ascot. But all it takes is for Campanelle to win his third consecutive race at Royal Ascot to turn the plot around.
This comes in Saturday’s Group 1 Platinum Jubilee Stakes, the richest Royal Ascot race in history with a £1million purse. In the case of Campanelle, it comes with a wholesome side to the story.
Campanelle aims to be one of the few horses to win three different races in three years. The platinum jubilee would serve as a wonderful anchor for the Queen Mary Stakes trophy that Campanelle won two years ago. It would nicely close out the Commonwealth Cup that Campanelle won last year after Dragon Symbol crossed the finish line first but was disqualified.
“To have a winner at Royal Ascot is something, but if she won a third time there it would be phenomenal. We are so excited for that,” Ward told Royal Ascot. “She comes here after a strong performance when she returned to Keeneland, and if you look at that race, what she did was pretty impressive. Six furlongs is her perfect distance and she loves Ascot. She will adapt to any surface and that’s a big plus for her too.
Campanelle has only run once this year
Campanelle returned after a six-month break in April, preparing for Royal Ascot with a 2 ½ length victory in the Listed Giant’s Causeway at Keeneland. She’s Ward’s last chance to win his 13e Royal Ascot Race. The American is 0-4 so far in England’s most prestigious racing week.
Avoiding 0 for Royal Ascot 2022 won’t be easy. The Platinum Jubilee is filled with winning talent from Group 1, starting with Australian Home Affairs. Stable mate to King’s Stand winner Nature Strip, Home Affairs actually beat his stable mate in the Lightning Stakes, a historical indicator of Royal Ascot success.
Chris Waller, who forms both Nature Strip and Home Affairs, passed up the opportunity to send Nature Strip to the Platinum Jubilee. Having home affairs in the platinum jubilee made the decision easier, but so did the looming presence of Everest, the richest turf race in the world. Nature Strip won it last year. The last horse to achieve this double was the Australian sprinter Choisir 19 years ago.
Embarrassment of sprint riches for Waller
“We wanted to separate them, of course, but I think it will be a difficult 1,200 meters and I think Home Affairs is a very good 1,200 meter horse – not that Nature Strip isn’t,” Waller said. . . “It suits home affairs well, who will become a stallion once he leaves England. By running here, he could make his value even greater than it already is.
Homegrown talent starts with Alcohol Free, which won the Coronation Stakes and Sussex Stakes last year. Then there’s Creative Force, which won five times last year, including the Jersey Stakes at Royal Ascot and the British Champions Sprint last October.
An American runner, Spendarella, had a successful Friday. She finished second to unbeaten English filly Inspiral in the Group 1 Coronation Stakes. The victory ended a bad week for the usually reliable Frankie Dettori, who rode the European champion 2-year-old filly last year with a 4 ¾ length breeze.
Trained by Graham Motion, Spendarella held off Discoveries for second place. The other American in the field, Bobby Flay’s Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf winner Pizza Bianca, finished eighth.